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VINYL Siding or PLASTIC Window ODORS
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WINDOWS & DOORS
How to install vinyl siding:this article describes how to choose & install vinyl siding on buildings, including vinyl siding materials, installation, nailing, flashing, and trim. We describe the composition & properties of vinyl siding such as use of PVC, siding thickness, siding profiles, and how vinyl siding lock and nailing flanges work. We give detailed specifications for installing vinyl siding including corner posts, fixture mounting blocks, use of J and F channel, nailing guidelines, horizontal overlap, trim details and options, and how to assure proper waterproofing at a vinyl-clad building.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
Adapted/paraphrased with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction. Steven Bliss.
Through the use of additives to the resin and better installation techniques, however, manufacturers have addressed these concerns, and vinyl is finding its way onto more higher-end projects. Today’s premium products typically carry a 50-year, or “lifetime,” prorated warranty.
While enhanced formulas have improved vinyl’s performance over the years, it is not impervious to the elements. Oxidation still occurs and, over time, may cause a white dusting on the surface, particularly in wet, cloudy climates such as the Northeast or Northwest. In freezing weather, a stray baseball can still shatter a panel.
Also sunlight tends to fade dark colors, and excessive heat will soften and potentially distort the vinyl. To minimize the effects of heat and sunlight, most vinyl colors are muted, although some darker colors are available with special additives to stabilize the vinyl.
Watch out: we sometimes find badly buckled or even burned vinyl building siding where someone placed a barbecue grill too close to the exterior wall (photo above left).
See Heat-Damaged Rippled, Bent, or Sagging Vinyl Siding for details about heat damaged and rippled or sagged vinyl siding.
See Installation & Repair Procedures for Vinyl Siding for suggestions and tools that are used to remove and replace vinyl siding in the middle of a wall.
Watch out: Information about vinyl products (not just siding) that may produce odors or have other environmental concerns can be found at VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO and VINYL Siding or PLASTIC Window ODORS in buildings.
Nowadays most vinyl siding is extruded in a two-layer process that puts the more expensive weather resistant resins only in the outer layer to save costs. While building codes allow vinyl siding as thin as .032 inch (32 mils), premium products range from about 40 to 50 mils, with the thicker products typically costing proportionately more.
Some contractors prefer a heavier material for residing jobs to better smooth over the irregular substrate.
-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
Vinyl siding is not waterproof. Since wind-driven rain will penetrate at lap joints, corner boards, and other penetrations, all new siding jobs should begin with the installation of a weather-resistant drainage plane consisting of building paper or plastic housewrap and integrated flashings. On residing jobs, any leaks should be repaired in the original flashing or cladding before installation begins.
Where more than one panel is needed along a run, overlap the two panels by about an inch, with the overlapped edge facing away from high traffic areas so they will be less visible.
Overlaps should be staggered at least 3 feet and in a random pattern to avoid creating a visual seam or step effect up the wall. Where possible, use a single piece of siding across the wall.
The fewer joints, the more attractive and water-resistant the job will be.
Our vinyl siding butt joint photo (left) shows how not to install this material.
Exterior fixtures—such as light fixtures, electrical panels, and hose bibs—can also cause problems if they are fastened through the siding, restricting its free movement.
Siding manufacturers sell mounting blocks with integral J-channel to hold panel ends and allow for movement.
Or the contractor can install wood mounting blocks before installing the siding and trim them with J-channel or utility trim.
The appearance of a vinyl siding job often has more to do with the trim details than with the siding itself. By using wider trim pieces and avoiding the overuse of J-channel, the installer can produce a more attractive finished product. Manufacturers sell a wide range of accessories in PVC, aluminum, or vinyl-coated aluminum. Most contractors fabricate at least some of their trim pieces on site from either prefinished or vinyl-coated aluminum coil stock, using a sheet-metal break and other specialized tools.
Like vinyl siding, aluminum trim has a high coefficient of expansion so installation details need to accommodate movement. Avoid putting nails in the face of flat pieces of coil stock and allow 1/4 inch at edges for expansion and contraction. Where possible, use a vinyl receiving channel, roofing drip cap, or another piece of trim to support long runs of flat aluminum trim, minimizing the use of nails.
Where nails are required, use slotted nail holes, which can be made using a slot punch. Repainted aluminum or stainless-steel nails are available to match siding and trim colors. A one-inch hem placed along one edge of flat trim, such as fascia, will help minimize buckling or oil-canning.
Watch out: J-Channel errors can rot windows and doors: Wind-blown rain sent inside the J-channel trim and into the window structure was the problem caused because the installer didn't follow the manufacturer's instructions. Properly the top J-channel is trimmed to include a tab bent over the vertical J-channel to route water outside, not inside the trim. The little flap and proper J-channel installation details are shown in Figure 1-25.
For those attracted to the low-maintenance appeal of vinyl siding but who want the look of traditional trim, builders can use wood or composite trim rabbeted or built out to create a receiving channel for the siding. For example, 5/4--inch corner boards can be rabbeted to receive the siding, or standard 3/4-inch stock can be furred out the thickness of the vinyl siding to create a similar effect (see Figure 1-28).
Window and door casings in a vinyl-sided wall can be fashioned the same way. Either use a furring strip to raise the casing above the vinyl siding or use a thicker profile with a rabbet. At the bottom of the window, you can partially conceal the undersill trim in the rabbet. To shed water, the head casing will still need conventional head flashing and J-channel, but these will be relatively inconspicuous.
-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to install vinyl siding
Question: I need to replace a vinyl corner post but can't find a match
I need to replace a vinyl corner post made by Bird & Sons. The post is light grey, 3 1/4" wide with a " smooth " surface. I found that finding this item is a real bear. I've been looking up Bird & Sons on the net for possible help but find it is over welming for me to make heads or tales from all the stuff posted. Would you , if you can, shed some light on this item? - Rick Lupold 7/12/12
Your best bet is to find the closest match to the original siding in color, putting texture secondary, from another manufacturer. In my experience, especially with older vinyl siding, even if you found an "exact" match by product number and brand, age and sun exposure will have changed the color of the siding on the building so the new part won't exactly match anyhow.
The worst problem is not matching the color, it's the amount of siding that you'll have to pull off to remove the old and nail the new corner trim in place.
Question: diagnosing why there is rippled odd looking vinyl siding
The picture with the dryer vent below the window [we moved it to collect related info together - see Buckled, Rippled, Deformed Vinyl Siding Caused by Other Hazards: heat leaks, chemical spills, unknown] was caused by the reflection of the sun off the window. I would put $$$ on it. - Jim Hilt 9/11/2011
There's a good chance the rippled effect on the siding was caused my improper dryer vent installation and hot dryer air is leaking behind the siding. - Anonymous 9/15/2012
Thanks for the guesses, Jim and Anonymous. Working together we are smarter than working alone.
But in this case, while I thought you might have something there, after a more careful check, I don't think so. Look at that photo again carefully - you'll see that the rippled vinyl siding extends way below the opposing window - not in the path of reflected heat from the window glass.
We have expanded our discussion of the rippled vinyl siding effect to explain the difference between obvious heat damage from a barbecue grill and the odd rippling in our photo above. The vent you saw is not for a hot air dryer, it's an air intake for a fireplace insert built into that chimney chase. But your guess is a good one in that there may be a more dangerous hot gas leak from the fireplace. For that reason we recommended invasive inspection to check the chimney chase interior as well as the condition of the fireplace
For additional photographs and discussion of all types of sagged, torn, cut, broken, rippled, or otherwise damaged vinyl siding, take a look at the companion article VINYL SIDING INSPECTION & REPAIR and within that article see these subtopics
Questions & answers or comments about how to select, install, troubleshoot, & repair vinyl siding.
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